http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/2686-the ... tein-right
She is really cool, we had great Filipino athletes, but nothing compared to this. Here are some of the questions. She is also an atheist.
In a way that non-scientists can understand, how exactly did you come up with a confirmation of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity?
Every theory makes predictions, and to pass the test of science, these predictions must match what we observe. In our study, we combined different types of observations of 70,000 galaxies and compared the result with the prediction from Einstein's theory. They match! So we say that we have confirmed the theory.
What's special about this test is that it could have gone another way. That is, the answer could not have matched the prediction—and that would be a signature of new physics, a signal that Einstein could be wrong.
Right now, I'm part of a team of scientists working on a new and bigger galaxy survey called the Dark Energy Survey (DES). This means that in 2017, we will be able to do the test again, and put Einstein's theory to an even more stringent test, so stay tuned!
Does being a woman or a Filipino make it more difficult in some ways? It’s still a male-dominated field.
Astrophysics is actually one of the relatively better off fields, with 30% women in postdoc positions (me included), and 15% in tenured faculty positions. The figures are even lower for theoretical particle physics, for example.
I should say that here in the Philippines, we don't have quite the same problem that the US and the West have. For example, there, there is a strong stereotype of the White, male scientist. In our society, we don't even have a public image of a Filipino scientist, much less a stereotype—except those acquired from the West, which, of course, is also problematic.
I find that one significant difference is that our society has no problem with women leaders, not only in the sciences. I can see and feel this difference, especially during my recent visit to Manila, after 5 years of living in the US.
Scientists are usually skeptical about God. Do you believe in God? Does your work prove to you that he exists or does it make you think more critically about religion?
I don't personally believe in God. I think science does make one more critical of religion, but I also understand faith. It's just that I don't have any, at least not in a higher Being.
I think we need people like her to stay and help in the country in the field of Science and Technology.